Horse Riding In Mongolia

We arrived in Ulaan Bataar, the capital of Mongolia, at about 11.30pm. Bed was much later. Sleep seemed to have been in short supply. We left for our horse riding adventure at 7.30am. We certainly aren’t missing a moment here!!!

I’m not sure where to start or what to write about. The weather which ranged from horizontal snow in a blizzard to glorious hot sunshine? The food which was not quite what I was used to? The experience of going to the toilet in the middle of the Mongolian Steppe which stretches almost without undulation as far as the eye can see? Getting dressed in three thousand layers and learning to tie a del (traditional Mongolian coat)? Learning to canter on the Mongolian steppe? Falling off my horse? Sleeping in a ger? The horses or yaks or dogs or camels or livestock? The health of the grasslands after nomadic grassing? The actual riding experience?

There were so many wonderful things which happened I really ddon’t know which exciting part to relate first. As I am struggling a little to find computer time I will post a few photos as they paint clear pictures and give a great visual idea of the landscape and other aspects of the ride.

 

Me getting ready for day 2. I was feeling really good. My backside was sore where I had landed after a spectacular somersault off my horse (he had stepped into a hidden hole, making him drop is front shoulder and me to practise some gymnastics!) but beside this my legs and other muscles were surprisingly fine.

Me getting ready for day 2. I was feeling really good. My backside was sore where I had landed after a spectacular somersault off my horse (he had stepped into a hidden hole, making him drop is front shoulder and me to practise some gymnastics!) but beside this my legs and other muscles were surprisingly fine. Feeling a tiny bit more confident!

Adjustments before setting out.

Adjustments before setting out. Catherine and our main guide Baggi. THe horses are short and strong and never stop. They have a “jiggly” gait which is very different to the horses I rode in Australia.

 

Lunch on Day 1. Trying to find a slightly more private bump.

Panorama at Lunch on Day 1. Trying to find a slightly more private bump for a toilet stop!

My first day on a horse and taking photos!! NOt so good at this combo yet but this gives you an idea of the landscape dotted with gers (the traditional Mongolian houses) and the generally treeless hills.

My first day on a horse and taking photos!! Not so good at this combo yet but despite blur this gives you an idea of the landscape dotted with gers (the traditional Mongolian houses) and the generally treeless hills.

 

Yaks are the cutest animals especially viewed from the top of a horse! Yak wool socks are sooooo warm.

Yaks are the cutest animals especially viewed from the top of a horse! Yak wool socks are sooooo warm.

 

The beautiful Mongolian camels. These are the only ones we saw.

The beautiful Mongolian camels. These are the only ones we saw.

 

Obviously domesticated, these camels really look regal. This is the first time I have seen camels with two humps.

Obviously domesticated, these camels really look regal. This is the first time I have seen camels with two humps.

 

 

Waking up the after the first night in the tent. I have a down sleeping bag and a del (Mongolian coat) over me and several layers of clothes. I was snug as a bug in a rug.

Waking up the after the first night in the tent. I have a down sleeping bag and a del (Mongolian coat) over me and several layers of clothes. I was snug as a bug in a rug.

Riding past a shamanic site. There were several teepee style erections - 3 poles together with hundreds of sashes tied around them. They were colourful.

Riding past a shamanic site. There were several teepee style erections – 3 poles together with hundreds of sashes tied around them. They were colourful. We were close to the city here.

 

 

Baggi putting on his del. The sash is 7m long and it has to be tight to stay on all day.

Baggi putting on his del. The sash is 7m long and it has to be tight to stay on all day.

Typical countryside we rode through.

Typical countryside we rode through.

Watering the horses. This horse is the one I rode. Generally the horses are not named which takes a little getting used to.

Watering the horses. This horse is the one I rode. Generally the horses are not named which takes a little getting used to.

Sharing a good pool a clear water. The few water courses we came across were clear. Even the main river flowing through Ulaan Bataar, a capital city with 1.5 million inhabitants was clear and flowing without sediment or rubbish.

Sharing a good pool a clear water. The few water courses we came across were clear. Even the main river flowing through Ulaan Bataar, a capital city with 1.5 million inhabitants was clear and flowing without sediment or rubbish.

 

An eclectic set of photos to give you a taste of day 1 and 2. I didn’t take that many photos as I was concentrating so much on staying on (with only one fall – that was the one and only fall of my trip). Also the horses here are quite skittish when it comes to objects on the ground. We had to change our planned route which was away from the city and go closer to the city where there was more loose rubbish so we had to be ever vigilant of moving objects.

Needless to say I was nervous about my first ever day in the saddle!! What a sense of achievement at the end of the day!

 

Advertisements

5 responses to “Horse Riding In Mongolia

  1. Great pics Fiona! My goodness, those ponies look so small. I see you got some jodhpurs! I love the look of those big open spaces. Make sure you post some pics of Ulaan Bataar…I’ve heard lots about the building projects the crazy president over there is doing.

    • Hey Jacqui
      The horses are small but they are so tough. They can travel for hours and hours – relentless. They helped Ghenghis Khaan conquer so much land as the opposition didn’t believe that armies could travel such vast distances so quickly. They are fabulous.

      I borrowed jodhpurs and boots and lots of other things. Tights and bicycle knicks helped heaps too.

      Yes – lots of building in UB. There seems to be too many apartments for the amount of people here. It seems as if the developers are hoping to relocate the people living in gers into apartments. I can begin to imagine the resulting social problems. The roads here are dreadful as they are all under construction in amongst high density traffic! Dust is part of life in the city. Its nice to go out into the country for fresh air!! xx

    • Yep Nene – all good now. I was quite surprised at how well I fared. My rump ached a bit but only for a couple of days andy getting of the horse after a couple of hours I was a little stiff for the first couple of steps and my thighs burnt when we cantered for a while….. but all was doable. Wish I had Alexander’s thigh muscles though!! Thanks SO much for the knicks. They were invaluable. xx

  2. Pingback: Blood, Sweat, and Wild Steeds: Inside the Longest, Toughest Horse Race on Earth – ABC News | Hippies for Horses·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s